A new blue flag of Rotary was flying loud and proud for a ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
The occasion was to unveil a new Rotary plaque at the site, along with the new Rotary flag.
With 150 acres, more than 300 memorials and an abundance of wildlife, the arboretum is the UK’s centre of remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.
Situated within the arboretum is Rotary Ridge where the Rotary flag was first raised in 2004 by the then District Governor of 1060 (Birmingham & West Midlands), Tom Cryer.
Rotary Ridge comprises of 118 conifer trees with each tree sponsored by Rotary clubs with plaques purchased from The Royal British Legion.
Currently, there are 57 trees adopted by Rotary clubs nationally, most of them Midlands-based, and there are a further 61 trees available for adoption.
The plaques are placed as a lasting memorial to Rotarians who lost their lives in conflict.
Many plaques have been placed on Rotary Ridge as a memorial to individuals within clubs who have passed on. Others have been placed by clubs who just want to support Rotary Ridge and the National Memorial Arboretum.
Since the raising of the Rotary flag in 2004, Rotary Ridge has begun to show its age with the spread of the conifer trees engulfing most of the plaques.
Lichfield St Chad Rotary, as one of the nearest clubs to the arboretum, has taken it upon themselves to be the custodians of Rotary Ridge, on behalf of Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland.
And it was the club which noted that a slate plaque installed five years ago, describing what Rotary and the members are all about, had become unreadable.
Also, the white flagpole located immediately behind the slate plaque, had become covered in green algae, with the flag worn and frayed, which had become entangled in the conifer tree branches.
Working with Bill Leslie from Ellesmere Port Rotary, Lichfield St Chad and the Cheshire-based club put together a proposal to upgrade the descriptive slate plaque, and to relocate both the flagpole and flag to the start of Rotary Ridge, clear of the encroaching conifer trees.
This was the focal point of the ceremony at the completion of the work on Rotary Ridge conducted by Bala Jaspal, District Governor for 1060, and Bob Maskell, District Governor of 1180 (North Wales, Merseyside, The Wirral and Cheshire),
Lichfield St Chad and Ellesmere Port Rotary clubs are now working on a crocus-planting project at Rotary Ridge, with other regimental memorials at the National Memorial Arboretum.